WESTERN BULLDOGS 2.3 5.6 5.10 7.14 (56)
BRISBANE LIONS 6.1 8.5 12.5 18.6 (114)
On a night in which Brisbane would celebrate club greats in their inaugural Hall of Fame night, the Lions produced an effort to make the old Fitzroy and Bears players proud with a 58 point victory over the Western Bulldogs.
Wearing an old Fitzroy strip, the Lions came out and dominated the Bulldogs with a free flowing, handball happy gameplan which encouraged plenty of run and carry off the half back. The Bulldogs’ lack of pace around the ground was exploited, and it resulted in three first quarter goals to Daniel Merrett and a 16 point lead.
The Dogs worked their way back into the contest in the second quarter, and looked like a genuine threat to win the game at half time. Ryan Griffin was being tagged but was still having his usual influence on the contest, Daniel Cross was working hard and Tom Liberatore was winning clearances.
Their forward line, however, will continue to be the cause of great concern.
Liam Jones, Jordan Roughead and Ayce Cordy are learning the game and some bad performances are to be expected at this stage of their careers, but they were completely ineffective yesterday. The trio combined for eight marks, which is not enough is the Bulldogs are to remain competitive.
They looked lost up forward at times and with the Dogs struggles encapsulated once more by their forward woes, maybe a trick from Michael Voss’ handbook is required to bring some spark in front of the goals – throwing your best key defender forward.
Brian Lake has done it before and seeing the results of Merrett up forward, it may be worth a try.
Merrett found things easier than any Bulldogs’ forward would have given how well Ash McGrath and Jonathan Brown were playing. With several options firing, the Doggies defence was severely stretched.
The Lions’ young onballers were completely on top of the Dogs, with Tom Rockliff leading the way, finishing with 40 touches and two goals in a standout performance. Jack Redden had 31 of his own as the Lions spread from the stoppages proved far too much for the Dogs to handle.
They had their opportunities, but couldn’t convert, and Brisbane punished them kicking the next nine goals, and the game was finished. By the time Roughead kicked the first from any Bulldogs key forward in the last, the margin was 59 points, and the Dogs were being embarrassed.
A few minutes later a ‘Fitroy’ chant was circulating the stands, and the message from players and fans alike was clear. This victory was not about the current playing list, but about the past greats and honouring the legends who are the foundations of the club.
And the Lions could not have done it any better.
Western Bulldogs: Giansiracusa 2, Cross, Dickson, Higgins, Murphy, Roughead
Brisbane Lions: McGrath 5, Merrett 4, Bewick 2, Rich 2, Rockliff 2, Hanley, Raines, Redden
Western Bulldogs: Howard, Liberatore, Griffen, Lake
Brisbane Lions: Rockliff, Hanley, McGrath. Zorko, Redden, Merrett, Black, Rich
Western Bulldogs: Nil
Brisbane Lions: Maguire (elbow)
Western Bulldogs: Liam Jones replaced by Clay Smith during the third quarter
Brisbane Lions: Matt Maguire replaced by Josh Green at quarter-time
Umpires: Wenn, Jeffery, Mitchell
Official crowd: 20,146 at Etihad Stadium